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Ecclesiastes 3 (English Standard Version)

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A Time for Everything

1 For everything there is a season, and 1a time for every matter under heaven: 2 a time to be born, and a time to 2die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; 3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4 a time to 3weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to 4dance; 5 a time to 5cast away stones, and a time to 6gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to 7refrain from embracing; 6 a time to seek, and a time to 8lose; a time to keep, and a time to 9cast away; 7 a time to 10tear, and a time to sew; a time to 11keep silence, and a time to speak; 8 a time to love, and a time to 12hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

The God-Given Task

9 What 13gain has the worker from his toil? 10 I have seen 14the business that 15God has given to the children of man to be busy with. 11 He has 16made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot 17find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 12 I perceived that there is 18nothing better for them than to be joyful and to 19do good as long as they live; 13 also 20that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil--this is 21God's gift to man. 14 I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; 22nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. 15 That which is, 23already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God 24seeks what has been driven away.a

From Dust to Dust

16 Moreover, 25I saw under the sun that in the place of justice, even 26there was wickedness, and in the place of righteousness, even there was wickedness. 17 I said in my heart, 27God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is 28a time for every matter and for every work. 18 I said in my heart with regard to the children of man that God is testing them that they may see that they themselves are but 29beasts. 19 30For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity. 20 All go to one place. All are from 31the dust, and to dust all return. 21 Who knows whether 32the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down into the earth? 22 So I saw that there is 33nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work, for 34that is his lot. Who can bring him to see 35what will be after him?
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